Data Mining and Predictors of Physical Activity in Older Urban Adults

A post by Sunmoo Yoon in the NIH OBSSR blog looks at the potential of data mining to offer insights into predictors of physical activity in older urban adults:

Only two out of ten older adults meet the national guidelines for physical activity in the United States. Little is known about interrelationships of many socio-ecological factors to improve physical activity behavior among Hispanic older adults. As we move towards a precision medicine approach, we need innovative strategies to discover precisely tailored targets and accurate interventions. Data mining has the potential to offer such insights.

Student Diversity at Postsecondary Institutions

The Chronicle of Education has gathered race and ethnicity information on more than 4,600 postsecondary institutions, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools and presented it in a searchable and sortable table. Note that the search function is very basic: searching for “Michigan” turns up only schools which start with Michigan (e.g. Michigan State U.), and searching for “University of Michigan” gives no results since it is listed as U. of Michigan. Results can be filtered by state.

H/T Flowing Data

Data Sleuths at the Census Bureau

The Census Bureau gathered data on fertility by asking a “children ever born” question from 1940 to 1990 in the decennial census. The 2000 Census did not ask a fertility question at all. With the advent of the American Community Survey, fertility was covered but with a different question. It asked if a woman had given birth to a child in the past year. This allows researchers to compute a total fertility rate. It performs reasonably well against the measure produced from the vital statistics system. And, given that geography is not readily available with the natality detail files anymore, this is a welcome solution. The main drawback to the ACS question is that the reference year will not span the calendar year that the vital statistics system is based on. Only the December respondents are referencing a January to December calendar year. See the Background section below for a further discussion of this.

However, recently, the Census Bureau noticed some anomalies in the data for selected areas and determined that some interviewers had been sloppy and asked “Have you given birth” rather than “Have you given birth in the last year.” Many more women will answer yes to the former and inflate the numerator. This is a good illustration of how much effort the Census Bureau goes to for producing accurate and robust statistics.

Data Sleuthing
Addressing Data Collection Errors in the Fertility Question in the American Community Survey
Tavia Simmons | Census Bureau
August 2016

In recent years, a few geographic areas in the American Community Survey (ACS) data had unusually high percentages of women reported as giving birth in the past year, quite unlike what was seen in previous years for those areas. This paper describes the issue that was discovered, and the measures taken to address it.

Background
Indicators of Marriage and Fertility in the United States from the American Community Survey: 2000 to 2004
T. Johnson and J. Dye | Census Bureau
May 2005
[ppt]

Slides 23 to 26 discuss and illustrate how the ACS and Vital Statistics estimates diverge from each other.

Quiz: Hispanics in the United States

Hispanics in the United States

Rural Poverty

The NYTimes Upshot reexamines the Census finding on rural median household income in Actually, Income in Rural America is Growing, Too. Recent reports from the Census showed that while income in metropolitan areas grew 6%, income in rural areas fell by 2%. However, according to statistics buried in American FactFinder, rural income grew by 3.4%.

Affordable Housing and Public Assistance

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight examines the crisis in affordable housing in Why So Many Poor Americans Don’t Get Help Paying for Housing. The problem is two-fold: affordability and the inability of government programs to keep up with need.

IRS Migration Data Report Tool

IRS map

This is a nice tool for getting net migration reports based on IRS tax return data. Note that because these data are based on tax returns, one can also tell whether, on average, a state is losing/gaining wealthier residents. One can generate reports for counties by state or for states. The former is really tedious because one has to generate the county reports one by one.

Tool Link
Counties | States

And here’s the link to raw data for those who find widgets tedious. Note that the site has nice explanations for the methodology, including changes over time in how these files are created: SOI Tax Stats – Migration Data

And, do you want to know how to make something like the map above? Here’s a link from Flowing Data on how to make a similar map based on 5-years of county-to-county IRS data:
Article | How To Guide

Asking Questions About Evictions

Andrew Flowers of FiveThirtyEight writes about the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS):

The survey that Williams was part of, the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS), may be the first rigorous, detailed look at eviction in a major city. Interviewers like Williams spoke to about 1,100 Milwaukee-area tenants between 2009 and 2011, asking them a battery of questions on their housing history. The survey has already fundamentally changed researchers’ understanding of eviction, revealing the problem to be far larger than previously understood.

New Census Reports on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance

The U.S. Census Bureau released two new reports: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014 and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014. The reports find no real change in either income or poverty level, but the percentage of people without health insurance has declined.

From the press release:

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2014 was 14.8 percent, which means there were 46.7 million people in poverty. Neither the poverty rate nor the number of people in poverty were statistically different from 2013 estimates. This marks the fourth consecutive year in which the number of people in poverty was not statistically different from the previous year’s estimate.

Median household income in the United States in 2014 was $53,657, not statistically different in real terms from the 2013 median income. This is the third consecutive year that the annual change was not statistically significant, following two consecutive annual declines.

The percentage of people without health insurance coverage for the entire 2014 calendar year was 10.4 percent, down from 13.3 percent in 2013. The number of people without health insurance declined to 33.0 million from 41.8 million over the period.

Quiz: Seat Belt Use Among Adult Workers

Note: Primary law: You can be pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. Secondary law: You can be ticketed if you are pulled over for another violation.

Seat Belt Use Among Adult Workers – 21 States, 2013